Church Fire in West Deer Township, PA

At approximately 8am on the morning of Thursday, June 15th, West Deer Stations 288, 289 and 290 were dispatched for to Transfiguration Catholic Church in West Deer Township for a large amount of smoke coming from behind the building. Minutes later, units reported seeing heavy black smoke several miles away and requested that North Hampton Station 165 and Rural Ridge Station 175 be dispatched.

Upon arrival fire units found a fully involved church fire with several vehicles involved behind the building. West Deer units then requested that Saxonburg be dispatched to the scene. Due to heavy fire conditions, no interior attack was made. Tankers were needed due to water problems in the area. Fire units from Frazier Township, Dorseyville, Harmar and Richland also responded to the scene. The fire was placed under control at 11:42am.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal and the ATF also responded to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire.

Between 20 to 25 people were inside the church for a morning mass when the fire started. Witnesses said they heard a popping sound, then a second popping sound 5 minutes later. At that time they noticed smoke coming though vents inside the church. The church was then evacuated and no one was injured. Witnesses say that a white Blazer was on fire behind the building when they left and soon began spreading to the cars beside it and the back of the building.